I've mentioned before that I've got into the habit of baking most weekends. I find it an extremely therapeutic activity most of the time. Unless I make macarons or attempt something which is known to be difficult, in which case, it's the complete opposite and I get narky and throw things straight into the bin. But that's one of those things and for the most part, it's something I enjoy doing. However, sometimes I just can't be bothered to properly bake but I still want to make something. My oven is notoriously temperamental, so overused from all the years of being inside a little rented flat that the numbers have worn off and I know that it just won't be the day to make something which requires anything more than a microwave. And that's where these cheesecake truffles come in. They're simple, easy to make, don't require an oven and are still extremely pretty to look at and hand out at work. Plus there are only three ingriedients.
15 March 2017
First things first, I am no beauty expert and this is by no means a beauty blog. But I have recently been trying to get into the scary world of skincare and take better care of my skin. This has involved a lot of research (Reddit has weirdly been a great source of help in this regard) and lots of scary words like retinol and AHAs. The first thing you learn is that there's a lot to learn. The second thing you learn is that this can be an expensive game.
So while I was searching on the beauty section of ASOS (because who doesn't spend a disproportionate amount of time window shopping on ASOS?) I came across The Ordinary, a pretty new skincare brand. I'll admit that at first I was pretty much taken in by their super pretty and simple packaging which is right up my street and secondly, I was taken in by the price. You can't get away from the fact that this range is just a hell of a lot cheaper than a lot of the skincare on the market - and not cheap in a naff way either. Cheap in a "oh, this is actually good value for money" kinda way.
While making one of my many ASOS orders, I decided I'd give the brand a go and I picked up their Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, which sells for £9. I was looking for some Rose Hip oil for my skin anyway because there are so many benefits to it - this one contains linoleic acid, linolenic acid and pro-vitamin A which is great if you have acne prone skin (like me) and need something to reduce scars and even the skin tone.
So let's start with the positives, shall we? The price we've already covered - a definite tick in the box. The packaging we've also slightly covered - it's slick, simple and appealing, I love it. Not only that, the bottle itself is UV resistant, which means the product won't degrade over time. Another tick in the box. It's glass too, which doesn't feel cheap at all. The only thing to be wary of is that it is a dropper - which is no issue for me but I know it can be an issue for some.
But now to the negatives. For a start, I just don't see a great benefit to my skin from using it. And believe me, I've used it quite a lot (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered reviewing it yet, yadda yadda...). Secondly, I just hate the smell. I hate the smell so much that I can't face putting it on my face and so close to my nose anymore. Unfortunately, this means that this particular product has found its way to the back of my drawers, unlikely to be seen for a while.
On a final note, the one off putting thing for a newbie like me are the names. As I've said, skincare is a confusing game and these products don't help. You have to have some idea of what you want from a product before you buy them as they can sound a little more like a chemistry set than a skincare brand (The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% anyone?), but that's a note about the brand rather than this product in particular.
Having said that, it won't put me off buying anything from The Ordinary again (I may or may not have already purchased The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% and I'm already eyeing up The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%). It may not be the most indulgent of skincare brands, but it's shaping up to be one of the most real, at prices that novices like me can stomach - even if I do have to do my research first.
Have you tried anything by The Ordinary?
13 March 2017
I have to say, making a shortcake was an experience. It's not something that I would usually think of making - to be quite honest I wasn't even sure what a shortcake was. I knew what shortbread was, of course,* but shortcake seemed to be something different. My only context was those strawberry shortcake Muller corner yoghurts. So what possessed me to decide to make a shortcake? Well God only knows.
I must have remembered seeing this recipe from somewhere and one day I decided to get off my arse and make it. Thing is, I absolutely love lemon curd and I will always go out of my way to make something that involves it as an ingredient, even if I do have to stop myself from sitting there with a spoon and eating it out of the jar. This time I went a step further and made the lemon curd from scratch - it was a little easier than I'd thought, which is always a good thing. One major plus point is that you end up making more lemon curd than you need so you can keep it in jars if you promise not to polish it off with a spoon...
The thing to remember with this recipe is that it doesn't look the prettiest. A friend at work likened it to looking like a beige cow pat, which really isn't something you want to be putting near your mouth. The one thing I take away from it though is that it really didn't taste like what I assume a cow pat to taste like.
*In case you were wondering - you probably weren't - shortcake can be made using vegetable fat instead of butter and usually has a leavening agent which gives it a different texture.
10 March 2017
When I was finishing my degree, at the grand old age of 21, I didn't feel ready to off into the real world. It wasn't because I felt I wasn't ready to find a job, move into the real world or anything like that, it's just that I didn't feel I'd finished studying. I was in the process of finishing a Law and Politics degree and although I'd adored the politics side, I'd hated the law side. Of course, the law side had been the majority of the degree. I wanted to learn more politics, it felt like my last chance and so I knew that doing a Masters degree was one of the ways I could fit in learning a bit more.
Faced with not being able to afford to carry on in Cardiff to do a Masters degree, I made the choice to head abroad. I'd loved Holland on a small holiday when I was 18 and it kept cropping up as a choice. It was a relatively cheap choice (at £1,400 for a year's tuition compared to Cardiff's £5,000), was taught in English and did the course I wanted to do. Not only that, but it was only a 45-minute plane journey from Birmingham and from home. Of course, there was quite a lot of drama around the whole application process which meant that I found out I'd got into my University of choice only two weeks before I was due to start. If you've ever moved countries in two weeks, you might be able to guess at just how stressful that was. But it's how I ended up living in Leiden, the Netherlands, for a year of my life.
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